Senior Biden administration officials said on Tuesday that China "has been supporting Russia’s war in Ukraine from the beginning" and vowed to punish the Communist regime if it provides Moscow with military equipment.
"We’ve made very clear we will not hesitate to take steps to hold to account entities that assist Russia, and we’ve made that very clear to the Chinese," Daniel Kritenbrink, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, told Congress during testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered this warning in person to China's Office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission
director Wang Yi when the two met earlier this month on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, according to Kritenbrink.
The warning to China comes as it considers providing weapons and ammunition to Russia for its ongoing war in Ukraine. While China has supported Russian president Vladimir Putin’s economy and propaganda efforts since the war began, it has refrained from providing weapons. But this could change in the upcoming months ahead of a rumored visit by Chinese president Xi Jinping to Moscow.
Kritenbrink and other Biden administration officials who testified before the committee vowed to impose a steep cost on the Communist regime if it sends military hardware, such as artillery and kamikaze drones, to Russia, though the officials would not preview specific penalties.
Lawmakers pressed the officials on their current efforts to counter China, including the misuse of congressionally approved funds that were meant to counter China’s global propaganda war.
Around $325 million, for instance, was recently allocated to the State Department so it could "counter the CCP’s malign influence around the world," according to Rep. Michael McCaul (R., Texas), the committee's chairman. "Instead, that money was used to fund bakeries in Tunisia [and] electric vehicle charging stations in Vietnam."
McCaul also grilled Alan Estevez, the undersecretary of commerce for industry and security, over his agency’s economic support for CCP-controlled entities.
The Bureau of Industry and Security, which works to crack down on the export of technology China could use for its military, recently approved "licenses worth $60 billion to Huawei and $40 billion to SMIC," both of which are known to supply China’s military.
Estevez said his bureau is currently overseeing a "top to bottom" review of exports to China with a focus on technology that could bolster the Communist regime’s mass surveillance state.
"Many of the powerful computer chips that come in consumer goods can also be the foundation for systems of mass surveillance in Xinjiang, or modeling and development of nuclear missiles and other weapons," Estevez said.